Veins of Crystal and Blood
The Golden Empire was the first recorded nation, dating back to several centuries ago and whose reign dominates much of the 2nd Age
In the wake of the spawning of the mortal races and the decline of the Great Elemental Cities, the mortal races warred over resources and land. When the dust settled, the technological advancements of the human race allowed them to dominate the battleground and control large swaths of land all around them. Their expansion continued, until it encompassed all of the known world.
Not much is know about what caused the end of the Golden Empire. The area later occupied by Daraska was thrown into civil war from which the smaller nation eventually grew. Entire kingdoms of people disappeared without a trace. Explosions rocked large regions of the Empire, causing mountain ranges to be blasted to sand and creating massive sandstorms that still rage to the present day.
But with no more enemies to fight or land to conquer, greed began to unravel the unity that bound the Golden Empire together. Barons that fancied themselves kings incited civil war, and other power-hungry nobles seized the same opportunities… eventually the Empire faced civil war in all of its provinces.
Unable to protect himself effectively, the king was assassinated and the Empire collapsed under its own weight. The wealthy and powerful rallied the nearby towns around themselves and so was created the nations better known in modern history: Daraska, Amalthea, and Geryt. A fourth nation, Sinault, was also formed but quickly retreated upon itself and denied entrance to anyone who approached.
During the upheaval and war caused by the dissolution of the Golden Empire, much of the technology that allowed the humans to wipe the field of their opponents was destroyed and lost. Nearly all maps of the Empire were destroyed in an attempt by the fledgling nations to draw their own borders more effectively.
Historians claim that Sinault retained much more of the technology utilized by the empire due to its extremely defensive stance against invasion, but whether or not there’s any truth to that is impossible to know due to the complete annihilation of the area which previously housed it.